A Revolution in Forgiveness


A Kellogg Work-in-Progress Seminar with Faculty Fellow Katie Jarvis.

When French revolutionaries wrested the power to pardon from the Church and the crown, they reconfigured the role everyday citizens played in forgiveness, while also democratizing sites of civil reconciliation. Jarvis’s book project, Democratizing Forgiveness: Reconciling Citizens in Revolutionary France, analyzes how revolutionaries refashioned forgiveness through economic, judicial, and cultural venues from 1789 to 1802. It explores how citizens repaired broken bonds by arbitrating neighborhood disputes, forgiving debts, and settling bankruptcies in new courts. It also considers how citizens reconceptualized reconciliation through sacramental confession, innovative religious cults, and youth education. Her Work-in-Progress paper focuses on new conciliation practices before the justices of the peace, which were established in 1790. It asks how, using these neighborhood courts, men and women changed how they framed their appeals and resolved local conflicts. While pursuing quotidian justice, citizens participated in the state's project to recreate civil relationships.

Work-in-progress seminars are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. For the pre-circulated paper and to attend, register with

Speakers / Related People
Katie Jarvis

Katie Jarvis is the Carl E. Koch Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. Jarvis’s current manuscript, Politics in the Marketplace: Work, Gender, and Citizenship in Revolutionary France, emanates from Parisian market women called the Dames des Halles during the French Revolution...
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